When a bull-headed city girl meets a bull-riding Wyoming cowboy, hooves are gonna fly.
That’s my tag line for Ride for a Bride in Wyoming. This was a fun book to write. It started out as one thing though and changed to something else after I’d done some research on the location, Sheridan, Wyoming.
I knew my heroine, Annora Lee Bostwick of New York, was a member of the newly established American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and that the hero, Buffalo Birch Struthers, was a rancher participating in the beginnings of the rodeo.
Rodeos had been held in the South—Mexico, New Mexico, Texas, etc, for decades on Spanish ranches going back to the 1700s. Ranch hands from different ranches gathered together to compete and see who was the best bull rider, bull roper, bronc buster and so forth.
Following the Texas Revolution and the U.S. Mexican War, contests eventually appeared at race tracks, fairgrounds, and festivals. William F. Cody (Buffalo Bill) created the first major rodeo and Wild West show in North Platte, Nebraska in 1882. Women joined the Wild West and contest rodeo circuits in the 1890s and their participation grew as the activities spread geographically. Animal welfare groups began targeting rodeos from the earliest times and have continued their efforts with varying degrees of success ever since.
Another piece of research that went into my book was Buffalo Birch Struthers racing a buffalo to win his bride. I found an article about a man who won almost every race he ran on his trained buffalo against thoroughbred horses. In a sprint, a buffalo can beat a horse any time.
Marriage was the last thing on Annora Lee Bostwick’s mind when she moved to Wyoming to start a new branch of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Her focus was centered solely on saving animals…until blackmail and deceit force her to reconsider.
Buffalo Birch Struthers had no desire to marry, but must if he wanted to keep his father’s ranch, and time was running out. His only option was a new event scheduled for the upcoming yearly ranch competition called the Ride for a Bride Race.
Can two strangers who find themselves in an unwanted but unavoidable situation set anger and obstinacy aside long enough to fall in love?
Here is an excerpt from Ride for a Bride in Wyoming, Book 4 of Rocky Mountain Romances.
She had light red hair. Not strawberry blond, or the usual carrot red. Birch never would've thought of a color like red as being mellow or calm, but that's how he saw it.
She had freckles to go with the hair, and intense, green eyes with a hint of stubbornness as if she wouldn't give an inch even if you set her skirts on fire. That glimpse of obstinacy matched the tilt of her chin and the stiff way she held herself. An uppity New York spinster no doubt hoping to snag what she'd failed to catch back home—a husband.
"She's my cousin," Lissette told the mayor, an arm around Miss Bostwick's waist.
"And my bride-to-be," Jenks asserted.
"That is impossible," Miss Bostwick stated with emphasis.
Great thunder! Even her voice sounded pretty, like a meadowlark at dusk.
"I'm afraid this is my fault," Lissette said. "You see, Annora's mother wrote, asking me to help Annora find a husband. She gave me to understand that is why Annora decided to relocate here. When I saw the notice about the race, it seemed the perfect answer."
"Why didn't you ask me if I considered it perfect?" Miss Bostwick pulled the cat from her shoulder. "I've no need for a husband. I like being a spinster."
Birch swallowed a laugh at that.
"Oh, but, Annora, I... I only want to see you happy." Looking stricken, Lissette glanced around at their audience. "Please, can we discuss this later?"
"Good idea," Mayor Sythes said. "I think we've strayed from the topic, folks."
"Yes. Remove my name as the Ride for a Bride bride," Miss Bostwick told him.
Lissette's face paled. "Annora, you can't."
"I'd like to know why not."
"Ladies. Ladies." Sythes tried to get the situation under control.
Birch felt he ought to be rooting for one of the women, but didn't know which. Miss Bostwick had a right to be angry at her cousin for putting her in such an awkward situation.
"But, Mayor," Jenks whined, "I have a right to take my bride over to the church and get hitched. I won the race."
Lissette's skirts rustled as she whirled to face him. "No one expected that to happen. Birch and Hezzie always win."
"That doesn't change the fact that I won this time," he retorted.
"Which means nothing to me," Miss Bostwick said.
Birch raised his hands. "Hold on. Can I get a word in here?"
"Go ahead," Mayor Sythes gestured him forward. "Speak up, Birch."
"First, I had no knowledge about Miss Westbrook coming here—"
"Bostwick," the redhead corrected, preventing the calico kitten from climbing to her shoulder again.
"—or being the designated bride for the race. In fact, I didn't think any bride had volunteered yet."
"I can verify when the race is to take place." Mayor Sythes pulled a paper out of his vest pocket. "I have the competition rules and schedule with me." Putting on his spectacles, he read, "The Ride for a Bride Race shall commence on the day following the conclusion of the ranch competition. That means the race is to be held July 30."
"Let me see that." Jenks snatched the paper away.
Lissette clapped her hands in delight. "This means you still have a chance to win Annora's hand, Birch. Isn't that marvelous?"
He wanted to puke.
Leave a comment below and you might win a copy of the book.
Charlene Raddon’s love affair with the Old West began as a child. She still has the six-gun from the cowboy outfit she wore when she was seven. In 1980, she woke from a vivid dream and decided it needed to be in a book, so she dragged out an old typewriter and began writing. She’s still at it.
First published by Kensington Books, Charlene is now an Indie author. When she isn’t writing, she loves communicating with readers and other writers. She also creates book covers at her site, http://silversagebookcovers.com.
You can find Charlene at her website, http://charleneraddon.com
Check out her Amazon author page at https://www.amazon.com/Charlene-Raddon/e/B000APG1P8/
On Facebook, find her at https://www.facebook.com/CharleneRaddon/